Legacy: Don Bewley

There are few people in the world that truly stand out, that stand for others, that make a declaration for what is so, or what could be, even if there is no evidence. Don Bewley was such a man. 18 years ago, I had the fortune of being introduced to him as someone who had a unique vision, a man of integrity, a man that stood for his fellow hair dressers, a man that really stood for humanity.

For a man to stand for such a big vision, he must really understand his own life and his own world. Don was a man that walked his walk, and talked his talk. He gained my attention very quickly. Don was a man that people could trust because he held his own integrity as he lived his vision of the world. He was also able to share his sense of humour, so we were ok with our own warts and blemishes as people becoming better at what we do.

Early on, Don had a very frank conversation with me, and it is poignant in my life today. He said to me, “the fish stinks from the head down”. I interpreted this as me taking full responsibility for the results I created in my life and for those from which I led. He said to me “Andrew, something tells me we’re going to get along very well and work together for many years. I’ll help you, if you help me to help others.”

I was immediately hooked. What an opportunity. And so the ride began. One thing I began to really realize along the journey was the concept of legacy. Legacy is something that can become central to a man’s life. It’s beyond all the mind chattering nonsense, beyond the petty gossip, beyond fear, beyond the unknown. It embodies the potential in what’s left behind, with no evidence to be had. A dream, a passion, and a commitment to a bigger purpose then oneself. This is something that Don had in spades.

My own journey as a man, a salon owner, a school owner, a husband and father, is evidence of what he saw in all of us: our greatness, and our ability to be our best. I live into that commitment and that legacy today. In my selfish haste, I will miss you Don greatly. For the conversations we will not have, only in my mind. But I am grateful that our paths did cross. Grateful that you ignited a spark in my belly. That began my own legacy, my own purpose, to bring forward and share in the world. For this you did for many of us. And that is the true measure of a man. My condolences to Beth, Sam, Bryn, and Sean. Your father and husband lives on in all of us, and he will never be forgotten. Peace.

Reflections from Beyond the Chair
by Andrew McAleese, Owner of La Luma Salon & Academy

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